U19 World Cup 2018, quarter-final, PAK vs SA Review: Pakistan razes South Africa to book semi-final slot
The Pakistan colts entered the semifinal following a slender win over the Proteas.
Updated - Jan 24, 2018 5:14 pm
Both Pakistan and South Africa came into the knock-out stages with one defeat having played three games in the League stage. While Pakistan were brushed aside by a vibrant bunch of Afghan boys, Hermann Rolfes’ brilliant century went in vain against New Zealand in their final group game. However, on account of having a superior run-rate, Pakistan finished on top of the ladder in Group D.
On the other hand, South Africa’s hefty defeat against the hosts ensured that they slip to the second spot in Group A. However, a knock-out stage is a different ballgame altogether where net run rate doesn’t play a role. Both Pakistan and South Africa tried their hearts out but it was Hasan Khan’s men who emerged victorious and booked a place in the semi-final of the prestigious tournament.
Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first. The turf at Christchurch had a greenish tinge to it which prompted Hasan Khan & Co. to have a crack at the South African batsmen. Arshad Iqbal and Muhammad Musa kicked off proceedings by hitting the right channels and gave nothing for the Proteas batsmen to work with.
South Africa got off to a steady start as they didn’t lose any wicket in the first six overs. However, Shaheen Shah Afridi’s introduction into the attack disturbed South Africa’s flow as he picked up a couple of wickets in his spell of six overs. The left-arm pacer extracted significant bounce from the wickets and nipped out Matthew Breetzke with an away-going delivery.
Three overs later, the left-arm seamer castled Jiveshan Pillay with an incoming delivery. Thereafter, Musa joined the party with two wickets in quick succession. Raynard van Tonder, the South African skipper, became Musa’s first victim as the ball took his bat’s leading edge into the palms of the cover fielder. Herman Rolfes, the centurion from the previous game, ground hard but couldn’t survive long.
After 15 overs, the African cricket team crawled to 43 for the loss of four wickets. However, Wandile Makwetu and Jean du Plessis brought them back into the game with a stand of 59 runs off 74 balls. The partnership ended when du Plessis mistimed a cut shot off Hasan Khan’s bowling straight into the hands of Musa at the point region. Meanwhile, Makwetu notched his second half-century in the tournament.
However, Musa inflicted a body blow for South Africa by getting rid of an ominous-looking Makwetu who eventually scored 60 runs. Jason Niemand and Jade de Klerk tried to garner momentum for the Proteas with a stand of 36 runs off 50 balls, but a couple of run outs pushed them back once again. South Africa played out their quota of 50 overs, but could only put 189 runs on the board.
The tricky run-chase for Pakistan
A target of 190 runs in a generation of slam-bang cricket isn’t intimidating by any stretch of the imagination. However, South Africa could have taken heart from Australia’s victory against England at Queenstown where they defended a modest target. Pakistan started off handsomely as Muhammad Zaid Alam spanked a couple of boundaries to get Pakistan off to a flier.
Gerald Coetzee dismissed him as Alam mistimed a pull shot into the palms of the square leg fielder. Ammad Alam couldn’t survive long either and was dismissed by Akhona Mnyaka. Every partnership till the fifth wicket threatened to take the game away from South Africa. Nevertheless, van Tonder’s men churned out ways to run through the batting lineup.
Subsequently, Pakistan found themselves five down with 111 runs on the board. More importantly, they required 79 runs off the last 24 overs with not much firepower left in the tank. The Men in Green required someone to guide them through the required runs along with some assistance from the other end. Ali Zaryab Asif bagged the Man of the Match in Pakistan’s last Group stage game against Sri Lanka.
The Lahore-born cricketer replicated his form in the knock-out game as he notched a calm-headed 74 runs off 111 balls, which included five boundaries. He came in at the fall of the second wicket and batted till the very end. Saad Khan turned out to be an apt foil for Asif as he lent assistance with a mature knock of 26 runs off 62 balls.
The stand between Asif and Saad fetched 65 runs off 117 balls and bailed Pakistan out of a precarious position. Nevertheless, South Africa didn’t run off steam and nipped out Saad and Muhammad Musa in quick succession. Meanwhile, Asif took the onus upon himself and steered Pakistan past the finishing line. Kgaudisa Molefe bowled a couple of wides to bring down the curtains on the game.
Pakistan vs South Africa, Quarter-Final, Christchurch
South Africa: 189/9 in 50 overs; Wandile Makwetu 60, Jason Niemand 36; Muhammad Musa 3/29, Shaheen Shah Afridi 2/30
Pakistan: 190/7 in 47.5 overs; Ali Zaryab Asif 74*, Saad Khan 26; Jason Niemand 2/31, Hermann Rolfes 1/22.
Pakistan beat South Africa by three wickets
Player of the Match: Ali Zaryab Asif